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Designated Police Stations

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will (a) list designated police stations and their approximate location, (b) indicate the number of interview rooms currently available in each and (c) estimate and break down the cost of fitting one room in each station with video recording equipment, indicating capital costs for equipment, building works (alterations), installation and running costs for the first year and subsequent years. [62262]

Mr. Ingram: Designated police stations and the number of interview rooms available in each are shown.

Division StationNumber Interview Rooms
AMusgrave Street, Belfast2
BGrosvenor Road, Belfast3
Lisburn, Co. Antrim2
DAntrim Road, Belfast2
EStrandtown, Belfast2
GNewtownards, Co. Down2
Downpatrick Co. Down2
JLurgan, Co. Armagh2
Banbridge, Co. Down2
KCookstown, Co. Tyrone2
Dungannon, Co. Tyrone2
LEnniskillen, Co. Fermanagh2
Omagh, Co. Tyrone3
NStrand Road, Londonderry5
Waterside, Londonderry2
Strabane, Co. Tyrone2
OColeraine, Co. Londonderry2
Limavady, Co. Londonderry2
PBallymena, Co. Antrim2
Larne, Co. Antrim2

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The cost of fitting out one room is broken down as follows:

Capital costs for equipment:
1 x video interview recording system4,400
2 x fixed colour cameras700
Building works (alterations):
Electrical work3,000
Building work1,550
Contingencies @ 10 per cent.450
16 hours labour @ £24.30 per hour389
Cabling, brackets, domes300
Estimated total:10,789


Maintenance is estimated at £400 per annum together with the cost of video tapes at £6.00 each.

Judicial Review (Holding Centres)

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what response has been made by the RUC Chief Constable to the request of the Independent Commissioner for the Holding Centres that he be given copies of court papers served in the course of judicial review cases involving the holding centres. [62265]

Mr. Ingram: This matter was raised in the Independent Commissioner's fifth Annual Report, with the recommendation that the applicant be ordered to serve the Independent Commissioner with the appropriate Court papers. As there is no provision in the Rules of the Supreme Court to allow for this, it was suggested that the Commissioner take the matter up directly with the Chief Constable. I am advised that the Chief Constable has not received any request from the Commissioner to be given copies of court papers in the circumstances described.

Millennium (Emergency Cover)

Mr. Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans her Department has to contract with the armed services to provide emergency cover over the millennium period; and what estimate she has made of the cost of that cover. [62571]

Mr. Ingram: At present no Government Department can have firm plans involving military support over the millennium period because these will need to be considered in a co-ordinated manner and priorities identified if the demand is too great. The Ministry of Defence have invited Departments to identify by Easter

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1999 predictable demands. By then most Departmental plans should be advanced enough to enable potential problems, which may require military aid, to be identified.

At this stage no estimate can be made of likely costs.

Ministerial E-mail Address

Mr. Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is her e-mail address. [62877]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The E-mail address for the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is

Lagan Valley Regional Park

Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many planning applications of a residential and commercial nature have been made in the

10 Dec 1998 : Column: 274

Lagan Valley Regional Park, within the Borough of Lisburn, since the commencement of the Lagan Valley Regional Park Local Plan; and how many of these applications have received planning permission. [62904]

Mr. Paul Murphy: Responsibility for the subject in question has been delegated to the Planning Service under its Chief Executive, Mr. T. W. Stewart. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from T. W. Stewart to Mr. Jeffrey Donaldson, dated 10 December 1998:

    Details of the number of applications submitted since the Plan was adopted on 13 March 1995 are set out in the table below.

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Type of ApplicationNo. of ApplicationsNo. ApprovedNo. RefusedNo. Pending
Housing development (more than one dwelling)8512
Single dwellings963--
Extensions to dwellings29272--

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Departmental Staff

Mr. Robert Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will list the special advisers in her Department and the issues on which they specialise; and to what level they have been security cleared. [62848]

Marjorie Mowlam: My Special Advisers are Nigel Warner and Andrew Lappin and they advise me on the full range of issues for which I am responsible.

Special Advisers are subject to the usual security clearance arrangements. It is not appropriate to give details about particular individuals level of security clearance.

Police Complaints Procedures

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will list (a) the steps she is taking to increase public confidence in police complaints procedures, (b) the measures taken to assure complainants that they may supply information confidentially and without fear of intimidation and (c) in cases where an interview is required to obtain further information, what choices are offered to a complainant with regard to (i) the time, date and location of interview, (ii) the gender of interviewer and (iii) whether a non-uniformed or civilian interviewer is preferred. [61970]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 9 December 1998]: (a) The Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998 provides for the establishment of a new office of Police Ombudsman to handle complaints against the police. The Ombudsman will have complete control of the complaints process. The Ombudsman will independently investigate all serious complaints against the police and will decide how others

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are to be investigated. The new system is designed to secure the confidence of both the public and the police. The Ombudsman will be appointed on 1 March 1999 and the new body will be functioning by summer 1999.

(b) Information and statements provided by complainants are confidential documents. They are disclosed only in circumstances considered necessary to the investigation and in accordance with:

    (ii) NIO Guidance to the Chief Constable on Police Complaints and Discipline Procedures;

    (iii) the code and legislation dealing with disclosure in respect of criminal prosecutions;

    (iv) rules relating to disclosure in civil proceedings.

If, of course, there was intimidation, then this would be grounds for a complaint.

(c1) The initial letter forwarded to the complainant by the RUC Investigating Officer usually offers an interview, at a specified date and time, at the most suitable and convenient Police Station. The letter also invites the complainant to telephone, or reply by returning a proforma in an addressed and prepaid envelope.

Should a complainant, or their solicitor, wish the interview to take place elsewhere, every effort is made to accommodate their request. Interviews can take place at the offices of the Independent Commission for Police Complaints and at other mutually acceptable locations, including solicitors' offices, homes of complainants and third parties and Church or Community Halls.

(c2) Whilst no choice is offered on gender of the interviewer, the RUC do ensure that the most appropriate Investigating Officer is appointed having regard to the circumstances of the case. In supervised cases, it is open to the Independent Commission for Police Complaints, to approve, or otherwise, the appointment of a particular officer.

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(c3) The 1998 regulations require that Investigating Officers are police officers. These officers operate in plain clothes.

In future, under the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998, there will be greater opportunity for interviews at neutral venues, and by the independent investigators of the Police Ombudsman.

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